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Marineland - Penguin Power Filters
I just purchased the Penguin Bio-Wheel 100 two days ago for my 75 L tank. It primed easily and ran smoothly until about six hours later when it started to make a noise similar to a rattle. I checked to make sure everything was attached properly and the motor impeller was properly seated. About a half an hour later, the filter started making a very loud whine as if the impeller was vibrating around the shaft. I exchanged the filter for a new one yesterday. I set up the filter and it ran smoothly for 12 hours until this morning when I was startled out of bed at 5:00 AM by an extremely loud filter motor that sounded like it was trying to seize itself. I unplugged it and went back to bed. When I got up this morning I plugged in the filter so I could see what was wrong. Now the motor won't turn or even make a noise at all. That's two defective filters in two days. I think I'll try a different brand.
I've been using 2 Penguin 330 bio-wheel filters on my 55 gallon African cichlid tank. I bought them as a beginner 4 years ago and I have used these filters ever since with no problems whatsoever. I now put one on my 45 gallon tank, since I've had excellent filtration with this product. I bought my first 330 locally for $46, but I bought my 2nd and 3rd from online for only $21 a piece. I ended up getting 2 for the price of 1 by shopping online. I must say for $21 it is a great bargain for a quality product!
I've had Penguin biowheels on all my tanks in the past, and they have been great, up to now. I bought a Penguin 200, and it was a good filter for a while, but then a biowheel got a tear. No big deal, I got another, then a few weeks later, another tear. So I buy another $15 biowheel, and 2 months later, another tear! It seems to me that the biowheels for this model have a tendency to rip, rendering them unspinnable, and thus useless. The other biowheels have had in the past have larger plates, so this is the only thing I can see that is the issue. It is rather unfortunate, since it does do a great job, albeit a little noiser than most.
I've used two Penguin 330's for the past five years on my 280 liter tank. Truthfully I think that one would easily do the job. I've been very pleased with these filters. They provide a good performance, especially biologically. However, in my opinion they do allow some water to bypass the filter media. It happens in the middle of the frame where the intake tube sits. For this reason alone, I recently upgraded to the Emperor 400 series. Overall the Penguins have given me excellent water quality. I don't care what all of the canister lovers say, Marineland bio-wheel power filters are superior. I've heard complaints about changing filter pads monthly in the Penguins and Emperors. There is no reason to do this. I cut the back plastic grid and remove the carbon before I even use the cartridge and then rinse the blue floss weekly. If you do the same you'll only replace cartridges a couple of times a year. Chemical filtration is rarely needed. Biological is #1 and most important, followed by good mechanical filtration. Look at it this way, no matter what type of filter you buy and use, you'll always have to perform water changes, gravel vacuuming, and filter cleaning. I prefer the maintenance part of the hobby to be as easy as possible or I might put off doing it. These are easy filters to keep. Bottom line: the biological and mechanical filtration that these filters provide along with regular aquarium maintenance is all you'll ever need to keep your water crystal clear.
I purchased and Penguin 330 for a heavily planted 200 L tank. The biowheels always stopped. The adjustable flow feature was useless, and the racket it made could be heard at the other end of the house. On top of all this, it did an awful job of keeping the water clear. After a month of putting up with this, I consigned it to the attic with the other fish-tank junk I've acquired over the years, and replaced it with an Eheim Pro II. What a difference. The Eheim is quiet, requires little maintenance and keeps the water crystal clear. The canister design is also far more flexible if you need to add peat, phosphate remover or other additives. Do yourself a favor. Spend the extra money and buy a real, almost worry-free filter.
These pages have enough comments to give the reader a basic idea on the topic. Further comments are still very welcome (through the site's contact form) as long as they provide new and/or advanced information not yet discussed in the existing ones.